The Fresh Loaf

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Hydration Calculation Question

Headlock's picture

Hydration Calculation Question

Hi all! Hoping to get some help with hydration calculations. I've been working on a sourdough pizza dough recipe for a high heat oven. Results have been a bit inconsistent, so have a few questions:

- The recipe I started from called for 00 flour, but I've switched to a high gluten flour (PFM Power High Gluten). Do I need to consider adding more water? If so, how do I calculate water content for different flours?

- I have an all-purpose flour sourdough starter and whole wheat sourdough starter. Both are healthy and and fed/mixed 1:1:1. I've read that I need to consider 50% of the starter for the flour and water content - is this true and, if so, is there a difference between AP and WW?

For reference, I just tried this recipe below and I needed to keep adding flour at the end to get it right. If you do the math, it should be ~62%

573g high gluten

68g durum/extra fancy

384g water

101 whole wheat sourdough starter

UVCat's picture

my understanding is that you should include *all* of the flour and water in your starter when calculating the hydration of your dough. so, if your starter is 100% hydration and your recipe has 100g of starter, that’s 50g of flour and 50g of water to add to the other flour and water in your recipe before calculating the final hydration. make sense? 

i can’t speak to how to calculate the adjustment in hydration when switching flour types. i have always done that with trial and error. 

hope that helps!


Headlock's picture

Thank you for confirming. Appreciate your response. 

Rafe's picture

 Hi -Trust this is what you were looking for....

Different flours absorb different amounts of water and therefore make doughs of different consistencies. The absorption ability of flour is usually between 55% and 65%. To determine the absorption factor of each of your flours.

Place a small quantity of the flour type (100 g/4 oz.) in a bowl. Add water gradually from a jug containing a known amount of water. As the water is added, mix with a spoon until the dough reaches the desired consistency. You can knead the dough by hand for final mixing and determination of consistency. Weigh the unused water. Divide the weight of the water used by the weight of the flour used.

The result is the absorption ability in percentage. For example:

  • Weight of flour used 100 g (4 oz.)
  • Weight of water used 60 g (2 1/8 oz.)
  • therefore absorption = 6/10 or 60%

Using the baker’s percentage, your recipe with the total flour in ALL sections = 675g.  62% hydration as shown. I Have added a revised weight of 1000g flour for info.


Healock pizza

Headlock's picture

Excellent, thank you for the thorough response. I like the absorption ability exercise